Should People without Heart Disease Take Statins?
By Gabe Mirkin, M.D.
If you have had a heart attack and take statins to lower cholesterol, you probably should continue to do so. Statins help to prevent further heart attacks and strokes.
However, if you have never had heart disease and are taking statins to help prevent a heart attack, you may want to check with your doctor. Statins help to prevent heart attacks in only two out of 100 people who have never had heart attacks. They also cause diabetes, memory loss, and muscle pain and can interfere with your ability to exercise.
STATINS INCREASE DIABETES RISK
Statins raise blood sugar levels and increase risk for developing diabetes (JAMA, June 22, 2011; 305(24):2556-64). The US Food and Drug Administration has recommended that statins have labels stating that they increase risk for diabetes and memory loss.
These side effects increase with higher doses and potency of statins.
With 20 million Americans currently taking statins, this means 100,000 new cases of diabetes.
STATINS DELAY RECOVERY FROM EXERCISE
Statins can interfere with your ability to exercise, a potent preventative of heart attacks. Athletes train by taking a hard workout that damages muscles and feel sore on the next day. They then take easy workouts until the soreness goes away.
Statins increase muscle damage from exercise (Am J Cardiol. January, 2012;109(2):282-7). Therefore they delay muscle recovery from hard exercise. So you can’t take as many intense workouts on statins. This prevents you from competing at your best and even from gaining the healthful, heart-attack-preventing benefits of exercise.
STATINS CAUSE MUSCLE PAIN (MYOPATHY)
Statins cause muscle pain and weakness in 10 to 20 percent of people who take them (New England Journal of Medicine, March 8, 2012). If you take statins and have muscle weakness, it is likely to be caused by the statins if the weakness is primarily in your hands, feet and lower legs.
Weakness in the thighs and upper arms is usually caused by nerve damage, not by statin-induced muscle damage.
WHAT FACTORS INCREASE RISK FOR MUSCLE DAMAGE?
You are at increased risk for statin-induced muscle damage if you are older than 60, have a low functioning thyroid gland, liver damage, or are overweight.
The higher the dose of statins, the more likely you are to have muscle damage. Drugs taken with statins that markedly increase muscle damage include:
* other drugs to lower cholesterol (fibrates, gemfibrozil),
* drugs to lower high blood pressure (calcium-channel blockers),
* drugs to shrink an enlarged prostate (doxazosin, and finasteride).
COMMON BRAND NAMES OF STATINS: Lipitor (atorvastatin), Lescol (fluvastatin), Mevacor (lovastatin), Altoprev (lovastatin extended-release), Livalo (pitavastatin), Pravachol (pravastatin), Crestor (rosuvastatin), Zocor (simvastatin), Advicor, Vytorin, Simcor.
Dr. Pinna says:
We are coming to the end of the Statin era.
About thirty years ago, the “Cholesterol Theory” was introduced as an explanation for heart disease and stroke. At that time it was well known that very high levels of cholesterol (above 300) were a cause of heart disease. However, lower levels were considered normal. The standard way of evaluating cholesterol was “200 plus your age.”
After the “Cholesterol Theory” was discovered by Big Pharma, the search for drugs began. Eventually, statins were developed. The statins worked in the liver to block the basic mechanism of the formation of cholesterol.
This blockage blocked other basic mechanisms as well.
Thus, we are now finding that statins cause diabetes, muscle disease, cataracts, memory loss and dementia. Their effect in reducing heart disease is minimal.
Heart disease or disease of the arteries has a cause which is essentially unknown. We do know that certain populations, such as the Japanese, have very little arterial disease. We know that Europeans have a high level of arterial disease.
Is the cause genetic or dietary or both? We don’t know. What we are beginning to learn is that the Statins are not the answer.
Cholesterol Theory Link: http://www.becomehealthynow.com/ebookprint.php?id=1112